Some essential service workers will benefit from an additional $400 in compensation every month for four months from the Quebec government. Premier François Legault, accompanied by the Minister of Health and Social Services, Danielle McCann, and the National Director of Public Health, Horacio Arruda, made the announcement at Friday's COVID-19 press briefing. These measures apply to all Quebec essential service workers who make less than $2,000/month.

That's also the amount that individuals whose jobs have been impacted by the outbreak can receive in federal aid.

The Premier said it "could be perceived as unfair" that some people who must continue to work are currently making less than that.

"We talk a lot about our guardian angels, and rightly so, but we also have a lot of people who provide essential services that are not always very well paid."

"I am thinking, among others, of cashiers in supermarkets, convenience stores and pharmacies. I am thinking of all those who deliver."

"Basically, what we are proposing is to increase the salaries of these people by $400 a month for four months, or $1,600 per person for these workers, whom I thank from the bottom of my heart for the work they do under difficult conditions."

More details will be announced shortly.

The COVID-19 outbreak in Quebec has once again seen an increase in confirmed cases and deaths on Friday. The province now has over 6,000 confirmed infections. 

Legault reiterated the need to follow the established government regulations and especially stressed social distancing rules. 

"You should never be less than six feet from other people. Even better, everyone who can stay at home, well, stay at home. This is the most effective way to avoid catching [the virus]," he said. 

Police across the province are also stepping up their enforcement of these measures, as well as requirements for infected individuals to self-isolate.

A spokesperson for the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) confirmed to MTL Blog that it's prepared to use cell phone geolocation to find sick people who are not at home.

The provincial police force has also set up checkpoints in several regions to restrict non-essential travel.

In Montreal, the SPVM is increasing it presence in the major parks and will issue fines of between $1,000 and $6,000 to people who defy social distancing instructions.

Stay tuned for more news.

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